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Here's What Will Happen If The Government Shuts Down

Capitol Building

(Reuters) - A partial shutdown of the U.S. government will begin at midnight on Monday if Republicans and Democrats fail to agree on a funding bill.

In a government shutdown, spending for essential functions related to national security or public safety would continue along with benefit programs such as Medicare health insurance and Social Security retirement benefits for seniors.

But civilian federal employees - from people who process forms and handle regulatory matters to workers at national parks and museums - would be furloughed.

The last government shutdown ran from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996, putting about 800,000 federal workers on furlough.

Here is a roundup of the expected impact of a shutdown.


Up to 1 million U.S. federal workers could face furloughs without pay beginning on Oct 1.

Most federal agency workers would be furloughed, but a small number of "excepted" employees must continue to work. These include security workers such as air traffic controllers and prison guards. Congressional staffers could work if requested by the lawmaker or committee that employs them.

Congress has previously paid federal workers for their furlough days.

Federal workers could face penalties if they tried to do any work during the furlough.


Apart from potential market swings, companies hoping to raise money in an initial public offering could face delays.

Businesses will still be able to file certain documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission, but the agency said on Friday that processing and approving applications will be discontinued during a shutdown.

"Capital-raising will have a huge hiccup if the SEC shuts down as it has said," said Eric Jensen, a partner with law firm Cooley LLP in Palo Alto, California.

Drug companies waiting for a decision from the Food and Drug Administration could also see delays. The FDA said it would continue "limited activities" related to programs that are paid for by user fees from drug approval applications.


A shutdown lasting less than two weeks would not hurt big defense contractors, which can survive temporarily without federal contract payments, said ratings agency Standard & Poor's. But a longer shutdown could weaken the financial profiles and liquidity positions of smaller defense contractors.

"It is felt a heck of a lot more keenly by small contractors," said Bradley Wine, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster's government contracts practice.


Meat inspectors for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, considered necessary to national safety would stay on job.


All military personnel would continue in a normal duty status. But a large number of civilian employees would be temporarily furloughed, according to the Pentagon.

Official furlough notices would be issued on October 1 if no agreement to fund the government has been reached.


Federal courts will remain open for about 10 business days. By October 15, the Judiciary will need to provide more guidance.

The Supreme Court, which is scheduled to start its fall 2013 session on October 7, declined to comment on whether it has plans for a government shutdown. But a court spokesman noted that in past shutdown situations, the court continued operating as normal.


The Internal Revenue Service has a major tax due date on October 15 for Americans who got an extension to file their 2012 taxes, which were due on April 15. The IRS will be accepting tax returns and other tax payments during a shutdown, but will suspend many other activities, including audits.

About 90 percent of the IRS's 90,000 workforce would be furloughed, the agency said on Monday, meaning call centers would be closed and audits halted.


President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare reform law is scheduled to debut on October 1 when people can start shopping for health insurance.

Money to fund implementation of the healthcare law, known as Obamacare, has already been committed.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
andrecirell September 30 2013 at 9:07 AM

I never thought I'd see the day when the United States Of America would be in this kind of situation shocking

Flag Reply +3 rate up
jeelliott359 September 30 2013 at 9:11 AM

I don't care what your party affiliation is, the fact that we are being messed with by both sides is crap. Either party is screwing us over because they are acting like children and won't talk. These people are so deceitful that they are willing to dick around when REAL American jobs are at stake. Instead of playing ridiculous games how about remembering why you are even being employed. We employ YOU to do your jobs! Not whine and screw us over, so how about they all start listen to us, the ones who elected them, instead of just doing whatever it is that they feel like. The government isn't speaking for the people anymore, they are speaking for themselves without any regards to us. That isn't fair to anyone.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
rmorrell200 September 30 2013 at 9:11 AM

In 2014, vote any incumbent out,,, period,, both parties,,,

Voters have the power to do just that,,,, but can we put politics aside?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
billforups44 September 30 2013 at 9:12 AM

in my opinion we need to take care of our country first we have enough problems to handle her with out getting involved in other countries financhial problems and hunger problems. We have veterans living on streets andand doing drugs because they feel that our country has failed them

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
Thomas billforups44 September 30 2013 at 9:15 AM

And it has.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
muvcritic billforups44 September 30 2013 at 9:17 AM

And if we withdraw our bribes of other nations to continue using our dollar as their reserve currency and the dollar collapses to less than half its current value, do you think those veterans will be better off?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
ellingt5 September 30 2013 at 9:51 AM

Even if they pass the CR it is only good until Dec 15! How about we shut down until they pass an actual budget. We have not had one since Obama got elected. Reid refuses! Doesn't want Americans to know what they are spending your money on. Pay Seniors, Military, Medicare, and disabled only until a balanced budget is passed so we do not do through this again in 2 1/2 months. I think we would have a budget in a week! They collected $2.6 Trillion in taxes, live within your means and cut the waste, fraud and abuse!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Tucky Girl September 30 2013 at 11:03 AM

Ummmmm.....I may have to "shut down" if I can't pay taxes, medical insurance..........

Flag Reply +6 rate up
juchca September 30 2013 at 9:13 AM

It is appalling to me that the United States Government would even be thought to shutdown. Do these people threatening this action think that was why they were voted into office. Maybe the US government officials have more power than they can handle.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
ZOESWAYSBOB September 30 2013 at 9:13 AM

If I went to work and did not meet a deadline, would I still have a job . Absolutely not. So at midnight, I expect to see pink slips on everyone's desk, starting at the top. Thats what would happen to me.And no more dinners ,vacations,college tuitions, shopping, remodeling until they get off their butts and do there jobs . Fire the lot! Lets get America back on track. Take their pay to fix the budget.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
myopinion.mary September 30 2013 at 9:13 AM

If they do shutdown, none of them should be paid (Congress) and see how long that lasts. They have too many powers to help themselves and that is all they care about.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
mattallstr September 30 2013 at 10:11 AM

And that's why you don't go to work for Uncle Sam.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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